So, you have an idea, you’ve incorporated a company, and you’re ready to show your business to the world. Now it’s time to bring your most important resource to the United States, YOU! If you live in a treaty-trader country, such as Italy, the E-2 Visa could be a great option for you. Here’s our walk through of how to apply for an E-2 Visa as a Treaty Trader Investor.
Step 1 – Create a Business Plan
If you’re starting a new business, you’ll need a 5-year business plan. A document that lays out your expected income and expenses. This should also outline your sales goals, marketing plans, staffing projections, and it should highlight the market you’ve chosen to open your business in.
Step 2 – Investment
A ‘substantial’ investment must be made into the US company. Substantial can mean different things to different businesses, but typically this means an investment of over $100,000. Be sure to keep all evidence of the investment as they will be needed for the visa petition. Investments must come from citizens of the E-2 country (ie. For an Italian company, Italian nationals must make a minimum of 50% of the investment.)
Step 3 – Obtain a Lease/Mortgage
You’ve picked a spot, now you need to commit to it. The USCIS requires a minimum of a 12-month lease for E-2 visa purposes. However, it is highly recommended that you obtain a longer lease to further evidence how serious you are about making your business work. This also helps buy you some time while you collect the documents for your visa.
If you plan on purchasing the property for your business, you’ll need to provide the USCIS with a copy of your mortgage or deed.
Step 4 – Make Purchases
For immigration purposes that investment you made must be at risk. If you’re opening a restaurant invoices of kitchen and dining equipment are pretty standard. If you’re starting an IT firm, you’ll need to show that you’re purchasing computers and software for the business.
Or, if you’re purchasing a pre-existing business, you’ll need an asset purchase agreement to prove the investment.
Whichever path you go, you’ll need evidence that you’re actively spending money on the business.
Step 5 – Prepare and Submit Your Visa Packet
Here’s where the attorneys at SAPG Legal step in. Once we collect all of your documentation we will pour over each detail. Fine tuning your application until it is ready to submit. Once submitted, you’ll be able to schedule your interview, this is typically an average wait time of 5-12 weeks depending on the consulate.
Step 6 – Interview
The interview process for an E-2 is straightforward. The officer will ask you questions about your business, the investment, and your qualifications. You should bring a full copy of your petition and any updated documents with you. An attorney at SAPG Legal will prep you on all of this prior to your interview to make sure you’re ready for anything they throw at you.
After the interview you’ll receive the decision. If all required evidence is presented and all of the officer questions answered, the officer will stamp your visa and return it to you (usually by mail). The only thing left to do is book your flight!
Make sure to contact one of SAPG Legal’s experienced immigration attorneys. Based in New York and Miami, we have helped countless business owners bring their vision to the United States. With attorneys fluent in English, Italian, Spanish, and Hindi we can assist you in your native language.